Why Edward Cullen Hates Holidays
Edward hadn’t wanted another mind filling up the house with insubstantial clutter that he could hear but never sweep away. And he hadn’t wanted an easily-recognizable face added to the family, which had meant they’d have to move again, and above all, he hadn’t wanted a love interest.
1. Why Edward Cullen Hates Holidays
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Chicago’s Independence Day fireworks were always spectacular. He remembered pitching a blanket with his family and stopping by it every few minutes to grab some grapes or cheese, in between innings while they all waited for the sun to go down. He remembered playing baseball with people he’d known long ago, whose names and faces he couldn’t quite recall. And he remembered the rockets screaming into the sky just as the sun went down, calling a halt to the game, sending them all to find their families again to watch.
For Easter, his cousins could be counted on for entertainment. He didn’t remember their names anymore either, but he remembered that one had been blond haired with curly pigtails and the other had hair the color of his, straight, and (unlike his) always perfectly in place. Her mother had been quite a stickler for ladylike behavior, even though the child was only five years old. But Easter had been the exception. As they hunted colored eggs in the backyard, the girls squealed in delight. He could still hear their joy, sometimes, if he closed his eyes and thought back hard. Their faces, though, were fading from his memory.
He hated these holidays, all of them, because they’d been taken away from him, along with his family and friends, his dreams of being a soldier and fighting for his country, and his heartbeat. Being a vampire seemed to render all of that moot. And slowly, even the memory of those times was being chipped away.
But his dislike of these holidays absolutely paled in comparison to his utter loathing for Valentine’s Day.
He had no particular memories of Valentine’s Day from before his change. He couldn’t recall ever being interested enough in a woman to court her, even on the most basic level. He’d never picked flowers for anyone but his mother, and he’d certainly never been alone with a girl, in all his human life. Such things simply didn't happen at that point in history. But, he was alone with a girl right now. And he found he didn’t like it very much.
Carlisle had brought Rosalie Hale into the family two years previous, and it was clear there was no getting rid of her. What’s more, Carlisle had done it for a particular reason – because he could see that Edward was lonely while he and Esme spent time getting to know and love one another. But Edward hadn’t wanted a ‘mate,’ as Carlisle referred to it. He hadn’t even been interested in a friend. What he’d wanted most was to get back his humanity, and once he’d given up on that, all he’d wanted was to be left alone.
Admittedly, THAT hadn’t worked out so well. So, he’d come back to Carlisle. He’d thought maybe he could at least live quietly within the family, pretending to be Esme’s brother, and keeping to himself. But Carlisle had put an end to that quickly.
At first, he’d tried talking to him. Constantly. And when he wasn’t talking, he was thinking at him, which was even more annoying, in its own way. But when neither of those had done the trick, he’d come home with Rosalie Hale.
Of course, Edward hadn’t wanted the girl dead, nor would he wish on anyone the suffering she must have endured. But he also hadn’t wanted another mind filling up the house with insubstantial clutter that he could hear but never sweep away. And he hadn’t wanted an easily-recognizable face added to the family, which had meant they’d have to move again, and above all, he hadn’t wanted a love interest.
He ended up with all of those things, inconveniently bundled up in the prettiest package anyone had ever seen. Which would have been annoying enough if Rosalie Hale hadn’t been perfectly aware of her own desirability.
He watched her out of the corner of his eye, keeping his face carefully turned toward his book. She was sitting beside the fireplace painting her nails. Again. She was thinking about Valentine’s Day, and whether or not Edward would give her a present this year. He had not given her a present the previous year, and Carlisle had taken him aside and scolded him for it. It was fortunate that Esme and Rose had been out hunting because the resulting fight hadn’t been quiet. Edward had done most of the shouting, though, as Carlisle had only to think something to garner a response.
This year, in the interest of peace and quiet and not getting scolded, Edward had purchased her something. Esme had been delighted and offered to wrap it for him, but he’d declined, preferring to do that part himself. Consequently there was, hidden in his closet, a package of chocolates tied up in brown paper with a pink ribbon. Rosalie liked pink. He bit back an exasperated sigh and turned another page in the book he’d been enjoying. The enjoyment was passed, now, ever since Rosalie, in all her shallow, inhumanly beautiful glory had seated herself in the nearest chair to paint her nails. Pink, of course.
Eventually, Rosalie tired of sitting in silence before the fire. Edward had half a second’s warning before she raised her head to look at him. “Do you have any plans for the evening, Edward?” she asked pleasantly. He had to admit, in addition to just being attractive, she was very well bred. It was a shame he could hear her thoughts. Please let him take me somewhere. I’m so sick of it here, with Carlisle and Esme being lovey-dovey all the time, and me all alone, with the world’s only true ice man for company.
“I don’t, actually. Tomorrow I was thinking of making a trip to the university, so perhaps tonight I’ll hunt.” Carlisle had encouraged him to get a college degree, and he'd filled out an application, which he thought he'd better drop off soon, rather than put in the mail.
She hummed noncommittally, and he resisted the urge to roll his eyes. Figures, was all that went through her head before she turned her attention back to her nails. He stood abruptly and went upstairs. He’d better give her the gift before he left. If it was one minute after midnight when he arrived back he knew Carlisle would be scolding him again. He retrieved the little wrapped package from his closet and winced at the smell of it, but carried it downstairs. Rosalie didn’t look up again until he was standing in front of her chair.
“Happy Valentine’s Day, Rosalie,” he said quietly. She blinked at him, and for one blessed moment her mind was silent. He thought he might buy her things more often if he could get a few more quiet moments out of her. And when she did speak, for once, her words matched up perfectly with her thoughts.
“Thank you, Edward. That was very thoughtful of you.” She stood gracefully and took the package out of his hands -– more carefully than usual, as her nails were still slightly wet. He watched her nose wrinkle a bit, but she didn’t seem to recognize the scent, only to register that whatever it was, it wasn’t appetizing.
She opened it gingerly, her mind whirling over what it might be. He got the impression that she was the sort of girl who tore open presents rather quickly, under normal circumstances.
When she’d pulled away the paper, her mind went silent again for just an instant. She stared at the chocolates and didn’t look up at him. And then several thoughts ran through her head at once. Why would he - ? Surely he doesn’t think this is funny. How could he - ?” And unfortunately for Edward, he was paying more attention to the confusing jumble of thoughts than to the angry expression on her face. As a result, he was not prepared when her hand shot out and connected with his cheek. The power behind it was enough to force his head to turn. He stumbled back a step more out of shock than necessity.
Rosalie’s bedroom door was slamming before the ribbon she’d dropped had fluttered to the ground. Edward continued to stand in front of the fireplace for a few moments until Carlisle and Esme came in from the front porch to see what all the commotion was about. He was trying to pay attention to Rosalie’s thoughts, to find out what exactly had gone wrong, but she was very clearly thinking the same thing over and over. GET OUT OF MY HEAD. GO AWAY! and occasionally, How could you do that?. But at no point did she give him any indication of exactly what he’d done wrong.
“Good heavens, Edward, what happened to you?” Esme said as she came through the door. An instant later, she had her handkerchief out and was pressing it against his cheek, rubbing at it. Then she stepped back, shaking her head.
“What?” Edward asked, a little slow to deal with Esme’s odd behavior because he was staring at the impish grin on Carlisle’s face. And then he saw himself through the older man’s eyes, his cheek streaked with pink nail polish. He grimaced. “Perfect,” he said dryly.
“Well, there will be some turpentine,” Esme returned, trying to cluck her disapproval and laugh at the same time.
“Yes,” Edward agreed, echoing Carlisle’s thoughts. “And Rosalie will have it.” Carlisle chuckled at hearing the thought aloud.
“I’m glad you’re entertained, since this is entirely your fault,” Edward said stiffly, turning to go up the stairs. He could hear them both wondering how exactly they were to be blamed if Edward had made Rose angry yet again, and he took some satisfaction in the fact that NO ONE knew why she was angry, this time. At least he didn’t have to feel so inadequate over the whole thing.
He was halfway up the stairs when he heard something odd. It almost sounded like someone was crying. He’d heard his mother cry once, when she’d lost the baby who would have been his sister. And of course, his cousins had cried every time they fell down. But this was different. Not so … wet. And it couldn’t be anyone but Rosalie. He couldn’t comprehend how giving her a gift could possibly make her cry.
He stood outside her door for quite some time, resisting the urge to scratch at the polish that had dried so quickly on his face. He knew her well enough to know that it would probably please her to see it there – a lingering reminder of her anger. Her thoughts were perfectly controlled at first, and directed at him. She didn’t want him in her head. Go hunt your stupid mountain lions and LEAVE ME ALONE! She clearly knew he was right outside her door.
But she couldn’t keep perfect control of her thoughts forever. She was a vampire, but fairly new at it, and not very disciplined. Finally a thought broke through that put the whole situation in perspective, and Edward hung his head. How could he throw my death in my face that way? Doesn’t he know how it hurts? Of course he knows, Rosalie, he just doesn’t care. He’s never cared. But oh how I wish I could still taste the chocolate!
He stood there for a moment longer, listening to her dry sobs with his eyes closed and his head bowed. That hadn’t been his aim in giving her the chocolates at all. He hadn’t meant to remind her of her lost humanity, only to help her answer a question he’d once heard in her head. Finally, he knocked on the door.
“Haven’t you gone away yet?” Rosalie demanded angrily from the other side. And then the door opened and she was standing there, her lower lip trembling. “Let me make it easy for you,” she spat before slamming the door in his face.
Edward couldn’t help but smile. That was Rose. He knocked again, and there was no answer, but he could hear in her thoughts that she knew she was going to have to talk to him, so he opened the door.
Rosalie had thrown herself onto her bed and buried her face in her arms. He felt another twinge of guilt at the sight. This was not at all what he’d intended. He wondered if he’d be allowed to finish the whole explanation before she threw him bodily from the room, or if it would have to wait for another day. He closed the door quietly behind him, though he could tell that the others were downstairs listening closely. A closed door would not prevent them overhearing.
Edward pulled out the little chair that matched her vanity, and turned it toward the bed before sitting down. “Do you remember last month when we were in Amsterdam, and you and Esme decided we would go shopping?” No response, of course, because it was a foolish question. She remembered everything that had happened to her since her death. It was only the things from before it – like the taste of chocolate – that she was forgetting.
“We passed a chocolatier, and I heard you wondering if you’d still be able to taste it. That was the only reason I bought it for you. Not to –“
She sat up quickly, so he fell silent, waiting. Rosalie sat there and looked at her hands. “Really?” She sounded so unsure, but her thoughts were racing. She was already feeling sheepish over her reaction, though he knew she’d never say so. He tried to smile at her, telling himself it couldn’t hurt much. He didn’t want her to get the wrong idea, of course, which is why he hadn’t bought her jewelry, but he didn’t want her to think he hated her and was trying to make her miserable, either – both thoughts had gone through her head in the last few minutes.
“Really. I just remembered that you were curious about it.”
Edward watched her swallow hard and scrub at her eyes as though she really had been crying. She must have been the kind of human who had done that fairly often. It seemed to be a reflex. Finally, she held out the box. “Want to try some?” she asked. He noticed that a piece was already missing.
He was perfectly well aware that this was going to taste like ash. But he reached for one anyway, and put it in his mouth, chewing quickly, and not bothering to hide his pained expression. “Awful,” he commented.
Rosalie smiled hesitantly. “Utterly flavorless,” she agreed. Then, “Thanks.”
“Happy Valentine’s Day, Rose,” he said again, smiling wryly back at her.